Brussels, 14/7/2022 – Five members of the European Parliament hailing from different political groups and different EU Member States have come together to create an informal interest group of Members of the European Parliament who support human rights based policies relating to the personal use of cannabis. Pirate MEP Mikuláš Peksa is part of the group.
In an open letter to the 705 Members of the European Parliament encouraging MEPs to join the informal group, MEPs Cyrus Engerer (Malta, SD), Monica Semedo (Luxembourg, Renew), Mikuláš Peksa (Czech Republic, Greens), Dorian Rookmaker (The Netherlands, ECR) and Luke “Ming” Flanagan (Ireland, The Left) welcome the recent developments on cannabis legalisation in Germany, Malta and Luxembourg and call for more information sharing between Member States on the topic.
The MEPs call for an EU wide fact-based discussion on personal cannabis, which has been seen as a taboo topic for a long time due to misconceptions and misinformation. “Due to outdated and unpredictable patchwork of legislation, citizens across the EU are often finding themselves being forced to turn to the black market or even worse, imprisoned for being in possession of small amounts of cannabis for personal use,” state the MEPs. “This does not reflect the level of freedom we have come to expect from living in Europe.”
Upon the announcement of the group’s establishment Member of the European Parliament Cyrus Engerer said “No one should go to jail over a joint, but unfortunately many citizens across the European Union still find themselves locked up just for possessing small quantities of cannabis. While countries like Malta are taking the brave step to look towards legalisation policies which combat black market supply while providing citizens their personal freedom, others are lagging far behind. The patchwork of policies across the EU, and the emergence of other countries warming up to the idea of legalising cannabis is sure to create a lot of discussion in terms of European, Schengen and single-market law. This is why we need to start the conversation”. In a similar vein, Renew MEP Monica Semedo (Luxembourg) said: “Prohibition doesn’t work, it only makes consuming cannabis less safe. With legalisation consumers can receive reliable information and have access to products whose quality is controlled without being in contact with criminals.Legalisation of cannabis in a number of member states is sure to have cross-border effects. With this group we can discuss a coherent approach to legalisation at the EU level.”
The open letter, which was sent to all MEPs on the of 14th July issues a bold message from the founding MEPs who make it clear that Member States should have the autonomy to create policies surrounding cannabis in a way which reflects the needs and specificities of their society. “However” state the MEPs, “we cannot deny that with new legislation coming forward within EU Member States, we are likely to find ourselves facing repercussions at an EU level,” referring to the recent developments across the EU and beyond. “As MEPs, we want to build on this momentum and create a cross-party interest group within the European Parliament, where we will share best practices, talk to experts, organise hearings and conferences, as well as debate the situation of personal use of cannabis within the Union.”
Similarly upon the announcement, Irish Member of the European Parliament Luke “Ming” Flanagan said “Legal cannabis is safer. This is an indisputable fact. Many countries around the EU are slowly but surely waking from the nightmare of cannabis prohibition.” MEP Flannagan, who hails from The Left Group in the European Parliament continued with “The European Parliament must give voice to this reality,” said the co-founding MEP, concluding “The formation of this group is a significant move at a significant time in the drive to change what has been a catastrophic law for many otherwise law abiding EU citizens.” MEP Dorien Rookmaker, dutch MEP who joined the European Conservatives and Reformists earlier this year, another founding member welcomed the formation of the group saying “Openly discussing a rational approach to cannabis is the way forward. It can help us better understand the benefits of legalization.”
The MEPs are calling for an EU wide fact-based discussion on personal cannabis, which has been seen as a taboo topic for a long time due to misconceptions and misinformation. “Due to outdated and unpredictable patchwork of legislation, citizens across the EU are often finding themselves being forced to turn to the black market or even worse, imprisoned for being in possession of small amounts of cannabis for personal use,” state the MEPs. “This does not reflect the level of freedom we have come to expect from living in Europe.”
“The current set of legal rules restricting personal use of cannabis in most EU Member States goes very much against the principles of freedom of movement and personal freedom.” said Pirate MEP Mikuláš Peksa, concluding the announcement of the establishment of the group. “We should look at Germany, Luxembourg, Malta, and other countries who are already taking steps towards legalisation of personal use of cannabis, and advocate for sharing of best practices at the EU level. I hope this cross-party group will help shed some light on the deeply flawed regulatory patchwork we currently have, which is sending young people to jail for a victimless “crime”, he concluded.
The cross-party group on the legalisation of personal use of cannabis can be found on the following social media channels: